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1960 episode of 'Queen for a Day'

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1960 episode of 'Queen for a Day'

Published 1960

One of the few surviving episodes of "Queen for a Day", from 1960. One of the strangest shows ever to air on TV.

Please note that most shows of the 60's were MUCH BETTER than this.

Run time Approx 29 Minutes
Audio/Visual Sound, Black and White


Reviewer: hennygirl - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 11, 2017
Subject: Rights
I love this show! Do you know who obtains to the rights of this episode? Or if it public domain? Any info to steer me in the right direction would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
Reviewer: lOvejOyhOpe - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 7, 2017
Subject: Auntie Bug
That was my favorite Aunt. She was a kind and caring soul. She raised my 2nd step dad Max Snyder.

My sister and I were supposed to watch but I forgot and only caught the last few minutes.

I've read a lot of the reviews and have to say: It was an 'Appreciation' Day that these women celebrated. The show wasn't focused on neediness but on celebrating a life.
Reviewer: alittlebit - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 18, 2016
Subject: Queen for a Day!.. a precusor to many of the hard luck shows today
I remember my Mom tuning in everyday. I was really small, but one episode I remember a Lady was given a Washer and Dryer. Wow, getting a brand new Washer and Dryer set, lol, which a lot of People didn't have then. It was a wildly popular show.
Reviewer: lilysim - - August 20, 2015
Subject: Queen For A Day Background
Queen For a Day was a game show that became very popular for that time period. It was a part of the craze and obsession of quiz/game shows. This episode has host, Jack Bailey, interview four different women about how horrible their lives are and why they deserved to win the prizes. It is interjected with many advertising breaks during which the sponsors of the show attempted to sell their products to the audience. The commercial breaks and fashion commentary were interjected in between each story. At the end of the episode, the audience dictated who had the saddest story and deserved the items that were being hawked by the sponsors. The decision was made through audience applause and the person who received the loudest applause on the “applause meter” would win all of the prizes and get to wear the red cape and the beautiful glittery tiara. The other contestants received consolation prizes for participating at all. The end of the show would be an unveiling of all of the items that the queen won accompanied by beautiful women and explained by the host.

This was originally a radio show on Mutual Radio Network hosted by Ken Murray and later Jack Bailey when it first began in New York. After April 30, 1945, the show was moved to the television screen and Hollywood. It was created and produced by John Masterson and his production company. Jack Bailey was retained as host for the screen and it aired on NBC originally from 1954-1960 and then it began airing on ABC from 1960-1964.

The show had many sponsors for each of the different episodes and the show’s length increased from 30 minutes to 45 minutes, because each minute of advertising time cost $4,000.
Its competitors included It Could Be You, Strike it Rich, and On Your Way, but it was unique in the sense that it dispensed with the quiz show’s normal “cleverness” requirement. Other quiz shows involved components of intelligence or trivia, but the only thing that this show required was women contestants and an audience comprised of mostly women and those that had the saddest or most tragic situation would be the one who “deserved” the prize and this was dictated by sympathetic female audience members. The sponsors for this particular episode included Pan-American Bureau, Ex-Lax, Starlac, Hartz Mountain, Westinghouse, Hamilton Beach, Hoover, Corday, Johnson and Johnson, Carl florist, Everson Jennings, Brown Derby, Revere, and Spigel catalogue. The original airdate and time for this specific episode is unknown.

Reviewer: ShariD57 - favoritefavorite - April 5, 2015
Subject: Bad bad bad ~ But bad shows usually attract viewers....
...if for no other reason than "the train wreck factor."
Yes, being the worst, in terms of sad stories to tell, made you the "winner" here, but that was the whole point of the show. You had to write in and tell your tale of woe and what would make you happier or more productive before getting selected to be there. They didn't just pull people in off the street and take a chance they would have a sad story to tell. So, having a "sample" of the Grand Prize wasn't so hard ~ they said when they showed that standard issue hospital type wheel chair that it was a sample from the company. Likely unsuitable for someone with cerebral palsy, even back then. The appropriate type would be furnished, as well as the exercise bIke she asked for from the company they mentioned.
As for picking the winner, they used an applause meter, which they showed at the bottom of the screen to judge audience sympathy for the woman with the most compelling tale to tell. Hard to prejudge the winner before that had been done. As for what the other women wanted, a vacation, and she didn't care where ~ they already had a vacation as part of the Grand Prize, so that was a done deal. Diaper service for triplets? Easy as pie ~ announce a year's worth of diaper service, and bring out a bunch of bags stuffed with anything to represent them. Add the rest of the Grand Prizes. The lady who wanted bunk beds or whatever for her houseguests? Also easy ~ a gift certificate from a furniture store ~ add in the rest of the Grand Prizes which included kitchen items and cookware, also helpful. It's not so hard if you use a little imagination
And the consolation prizes were all brought out and talked about ~ sponsorship demanded it of course ~ before the winner was announced. Since every prize was provided, donated or paid for by the company making it, they had to get their product placements to encourage ALL those devoted viewers to buy them when they went out shopping, or had a need for such items, or places to go.
Seems like everything previously mentioned as a shortcoming was actually already covered ~ you just had to pay attention to the program.
Yes, the show host was a tool ~ but it's likely he was part of the plot to get people to feel even more sorry for those contestants, for having to deal with him first before being able to win their prizes! It's also possible it was the only job he could get, and he hated it so much a few slugs of his preferred poison before going on was the only way he could get through the day. The announcer job for The Price Is Right was already taken, and he knew this show was never going to last 40 some years more, and neither was he.
I remember watching this tripe when I was not yet in school, which I started in the fall of 1963. I remember as a little girl being entranced with the idea of being picked to be a Queen, and getting to wear that pretty crown, but just didn't quite "get" the rest of the thing. Just crowns and a truckload of prizes. I don't think I quite understood how desperate you had to be to tell the whole world your troubles on nationwide TV and beg for relief.
I know this idiot laughed like a chimp at some of the things that were said, but I was just waiting for the crowning bit and the prizes to be awarded, which seemed to have no end. Now, watching it as a grown woman, and as old, or older than the contestants were, what a mess it was. But was it really any worse than the soap operas that sucked up the afternoons of every housewife in the country while she did her ironing, or mending, or bean-snapping for dinner? This was just another version of a soap opera with commercials for all sorts of household goods and personal care products, just the main characters stayed the same and there were different "Guest Stars" every episode.
Reviewer: solongago - favoritefavoritefavorite - June 30, 2013
Subject: Winner was apparently known beforehand
Interesting that the first of the prizes was the wheelchair. I doubt that they had specifically selected gifts behind the curtain for the other three, also, in case they won. It was fairly obvious from the beginning of the episode who was the most pathetic (other than the host), and was going to win, but that wheelchair sitting there ready to roll makes it all the more obvious that there was never intended to be a competition.
Reviewer: ultimatebozo - favoritefavoritefavorite - February 7, 2013
Subject: Brilliant by today's standards
This show screams for a revival, with someone like Maury Povich, or Jerry Springer as the host. This is more compelling, and less condescending than "American Idol" ever could be...
Reviewer: pauls son - favoritefavorite - February 7, 2013
Subject: QFAD
I barely remember this being watched by my aunt & even as a child I knew it was bad. But---watching it now I see how truly atrocious it was! Yuck! This did bring back one short memory of an episode from way-back. A lady was sobbing about an ill husband, a home fire, & being robbed on New Years Day. That jackass host burst out laughing & yelled, "Happy New Year!!" After seeing this episode I realize he must've been just as clueless and unfeeling in EVERY episode. The show is campy but what crap!
Reviewer: pamalafizer - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 12, 2012
Reviewer: hijklmno - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 19, 2012
Subject: It was a great show
When I was a child, young adult. The lady across the street won Queen For A Day. She was a delightful woman. Their family had a special needs child. She was a grammer school teacher, her husband a postman. It was really a blessing that they won.
Reviewer: classicscats - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 29, 2011
Subject: More please!! :)
So bad it's good. I loved this show. Yes they win by having the saddest story, but as someone else said, people love Extreme Home Makeover and that IMO is just as campy...a 21st century equivalent.

Please DO add more eps, this is a campy treasure among game shows!
Reviewer: Dr. I. N. Stein - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 8, 2011
Subject: OMG
I remember this show from my childhood. God I'm old.
Reviewer: amywah - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 27, 2010
Subject: Wow
Not sure I have ever seen someone look so sad on a game show. Even after winning. I did enjoy the fashion show.
Reviewer: dystonia_gene - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 24, 2010
Subject: Yeah, Stop Hating!
What's so wrong about this. Do you really see much difference between this show and Extreme Home Makeover? Some of you cry every week watching that.

Well... maybe it was the suspiciously tipsy host (don't think it was essential tremors), the random 5yr/old model, or the bob-cut barbie doll display girls. ... eh, I don't know. I'm glad the kid got his wc.
Reviewer: Chez_When - favoritefavorite - December 23, 2009
Subject: Retro fashions, cars, funny commercials.
I used to spend the day at the grandmother's when I was a kid. This was one of her must-watch TV shows. What I liked about this show were the prizes and Jean Cagney's fashion commentary. James Cagney's younger sister gave the movies the boot in the fifties, got married, then resurfaced in this little daytime TV stint. If you like looking at vintage fashions or retro appliances and furnishings,and very weird commercials then this is worth a download. You can also catch Jean Cagney in 2 movies here at She steals the show in Quicksand with Mickey Rooney, and The Time Of Your Life with brother James. A class act even in this strange TV show.
Reviewer: TheDevilYouKnow - favoritefavorite - December 12, 2009
Subject: Geez...
It's somewhat interesting (or sad...depending on how you look at it) that even back during the dawn of television, producers were trying to find ways to exploit people's misfortune for the sake of entertainment. Truth be told, I find the commercials from this more interesting than the show. In fact, the show itself just bummed me out.

The host also seems a bit condescending and barely even interested enough to listen. He asked some of the women questions to things that they clearly pointed out.
Reviewer: oldbob51 - favorite - November 9, 2009
Subject: Crap
My mother watched this garbage for years, so of course I had to watch it, too! The most pathetic story wins, but what do the runners-up get? Probably a quick hustle out the door! The saddest part is that this dreck dates back to the radio days!
Reviewer: grcfl1ofaknd - favoritefavorite - June 19, 2009
Subject: I know it's bad but........ is a tremendous example of what passed for entertainment for the ladies in the early 60's. A museum piece, a rarity, please download more, if for no other reason than for its historic content.
Reviewer: blackbox_jones - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 20, 2009
Subject: Dear God, this is Horrible!
I just barely remember watching this when I was little, and I really didn't understand how terrible a concept it was. The worst part for me was when one of the contestents described how one of her triplets was born with a dangerously low birth weight of 3 lbs 3 ounces, and the idiot host laughs like she just said something cute and funny! Quite possibly the worst abomination I have ever seen! Please upload more!
Reviewer: Seto-Kaiba_Is_Stupid - favorite - January 19, 2009
Subject: Well Below the Standards of the Time
This is perhaps one of the few truely bad programs of it's time.
Reviewer: jonel469 - favoritefavoritefavorite - December 29, 2008
Subject: Sick Sick Sick
And the prize is.... A Brand New wheel Chair !!!!Good Lord what passed for entertainment then. Please T.V. and Radio Fan give us more if you have it , if for no other reason ,just for the babes in proto-mini skirts fondling household appliances .
Reviewer: Classic_TV_and_Radio_Fan - favorite - November 1, 2008
Subject: Don't Encourage Me
If enough people download this shit then I will have no choice but to upload more.
Reviewer: TG Fan - favorite - September 5, 2008
Subject: Downer
This show is win by being worse off than the others. Even the winner looked liked she was ready to cry all the time, not tears of joy either
Reviewer: Dwight Frye - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 2, 2008
Subject: Queen For A Day
I cant help but love a show where the object is to be more pathetic than any of the other contestants.Remember seeing this as a little kid,enjoyed it then,and still like it today.Supposedly only 7 episodes survive,I hope they find more.
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